Local Champion

In March 2023, Stuff by Anna Beth Adcock1 Comment

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Raleigh rising star debuts his latest film alongside Woody Harrelson. 

Alexa, play “We Are the Champions.” … Let us introduce you to rising celeb and champion of his own caliber, Kevin Iannucci. In his most recent work, Champions (dropping March 10), Iannucci plays Johnny—a member of a team of basketball players with intellectual disabilities—opposite Kaitlin Olson and Woody Harrelson, the latter of whom stars as a former minor league coach with a court order to manage the group. 

A Raleigh native and rising Hollywood star with Down syndrome, Iannucci has been acting since the tender age of 7 (see appearances in Embattled, The Best of Enemies and Changeover, as well as several short films made by Iannucci’s older siblings Drew and Daniel). To boot, he’s also developed his acting chops through involvement with S.T.A.R Special Theatre Arts of Raleigh, and acting classes at North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre and Moonlight Stage Company

“I wanted to become an actor because I would watch TV and movies, and I wanted to see myself in them,” explains Iannucci. “And working with Woody and Kaitlin was magical. Being on set with them everyday was a dream come true. And Harrelson’s great! He’s always helpful, supportive and funny.”

Kevin Iannucci

For another point in his favor, the feeling is mutual from his co-stars/director. “Kevin is a real thespian,” says Champions director Bobby Farrelly. “He has impeccable, natural acting instincts, and he’s got great comedic timing. He’s an absolute star. It was unbelievable to watch him go up against legends like Olson and Harrelson and be able to hold his own.” Olson, who stars as Johnny’s sister, Alex, adds, “Working with Kevin was so delightful. This guy is so loving, so warm and incredibly talented. He is truly an amazing actor.” 

Besides bonding with big-name actors with whom he shares the screen, Iannucci has received a slew of support from his hometown. And he still touts a local address, so you can find him out and about at one of his favorite places (GameStop, Target or Walmart)—or playing soccer, going swimming and shooting hoops… just like his movie character (!).  Fun fact: Iannucci is also a proud grad of Millbrook Magnet High School, where he managed the varsity baseball team.

“He’s had a lot of help here in Raleigh through programs, coaching, and his friends and family,” says Iannucci’s mom, Anne. “It’s been a really good support system.”

And this actor’s got big goals for the future. With plans to continue his acting career, Iannucci hopes to one day star on the screen alongside Zac Efron, Selena Gomez or Kevin Hart. 

For now, though, you can see the rising star shoot his shot on the big screen by grabbing tix to this heartwarming film (bonus points if you go during Down Syndrome Awareness Week, which kicks off March 15!).

“It can make you laugh; it can make you cry; and it’s a feel-good movie because I’m in it!” adds Iannucci. … Sounds like a slam dunk. @official_nuccinator 

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  1. Our family is looking forward to this movie especially with Kevin Iannucci in it! As a seasoned actor, he will give his role flavor and credibility because he really is a man of many talents! Great article!

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